THE FORTIFIED CHURCH IN BIERTAN, THE PLACE OF REFUGE OF THE PRINCE OF WALES (BIERTAN)

Those who visit Transylvania, and especially the fortified churches in the middle of the country will not bypass a village that has become famous in recent years, mainly due to Prince Charles, who visited her in thick lines and has promoted it as: Biertan – a place so beautiful that feels like a visual storytelling that inspires anyone to pack one’s bag and follow the road towards the legendary fortified church.

Located in the northern county of Sibiu, between Medias and Sighisoara, Biertan was first mentioned for the first time in the documents beginning with 1283, as a Saxon settlement. Traditionally, as the years pass, the city has developed an administrative organization that places the church in the center of the rows of houses, which seem like a fortification belt around it. Built in the late Gothic style, on a hill, between 1490 and 1520, the church is preserved almost perfectly, being one of the best preserved of the fortified churches in Transylvania among the circa 300 in number, that have been built during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The main part of the medieval complex is the church itself, one large, comprising three halls equal height edifice that is very impressive and harmoniously built. The altar was made by master architects from Nuremberg and Vienna, being the largest in Transylvania, with its 28 painted panels. The pulpit is carved in stone and one of the most interesting elements of the building is the door of the sacristy, built in 1515, which features a unique closing (it has no less than 19 locks!), and is the winner of the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. The organ dates from 1869 and is the work of renowned Carl Hesse of Vienna. Inside, there can also be admired the valuable pews painted in the studio master Johannes Reichmuth from Sighisoara in the early 16th century, together with the oriental rugs or flags that belonged to the guild of Biertan.

The complex near the church embodies a clock tower, the Catholic Tower (symbol of religious tolerance), the Mausoleum Tower (where the graves of the prelates are located), the Bastion Tower Prison (or room reconciliation, where they those who wanted to divorce were imprisoned in order to make a truce), the Tower Hall, and bastion.

The patriarchal atmosphere of Biertan bears the memory of the 1,600 Germans who lived here in the 70’s. Biertan is no longer being considered today a Saxon village but, ironically, here takes place the meeting of the Transylvanian Saxons almost every year. If you want to find accommodation in Biertan, the most likely solution at hand is the Unglerus Pension / Medieval resort), located at the foot of the hill on which the church stands, and that includes a restaurant and a wine cellar.

Photo source:

Picture 1: viatransylvania.com; Picture 2: fetede10.ro; Picture 3: watcher.ro; Picture 4: discovertarnavamare.org; Picture 5: eurotv.md; Picture 6: travelchannel.com; Picture 7: romaniatravel.com